Brothers stole puppies from home

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Two brothers have been ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the owner of seven new-born puppies which went “missing” following a break-in last year.

A judge heard the American Bulldogs, each worth an estimated £175, were stolen a year ago and had not been found despite Lee Cooke’s arrest the following day.

Cooke, 29, of Lemans Drive, Staincliffe, took the puppies and an adult male bulldog called Buddy after forcing his way into an unoccupied house in Halifax.

Prosecutor Dale Brook said the stolen puppies were part of a litter of 13 and the remaining six were found wrapped in a cloth cover outside the property.

He said: “The Crown say they were waiting to be taken, but the burglars were disturbed.”

Cooke was identified by the owner from CCTV footage and police found Buddy at his house the next day.

Mr Brook said the seven puppies were still “missing”.

Bradford Crown court heard Cooke had initially gone to the house to take a femal bulldog called Roxanne which had not been paid for in full.

Michael Collins, for Cooke, said he had not intended to commit a burglary when he went to the house and Roxanne was the subject of a “commercial transaction” between the parties.

Judge Peter Benson noted that it was not a straight forward offence, but said the victim had lost his valuable animals. Cooke was given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted the burglary.

He was also ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work and pay £500 compensation.

His brother, Lance Smith, pleaded guilty to the same charge on the basis that he played a lesser role by helping to take away the animals.

Smith, 23, of Fieldhead Gardens, Shaw Cross, was given a 12 month community sentence with 80 hours unpaid work and £500 compensation.

Judge Benson said the sentences took into account the fact that both men had served prison terms for unrelated offences since the burglary last September.